Results with Shunyata Venom Defender

I’ve started my battle with noisy AC and while I’m waiting for my new Audioquest Dragon HC 20A to come in (for my TBD conditioner) my dealer loaned me a couple of Shunyata Venom Defender plugs, which are supposed to filter out noise on your AC line and provide surge protection. You simply plug these in on the same circuit as your gear. They are inexpensive buy audio standards.

Do they make a difference? Yes! Sound became noticeably more focused, more higher frequency detail, cleaner treble. But….. Unfortunately the tonal balance shifted. Bass was more reserved and too polite (but well defined). I’d say all frequencies below upper midrange became quieter, and all frequencies upper mid and higher got louder. All frequencies got clearer. Also, the overall volume was very slightly quieter with these devices plugged in. Maybe quieter by 1/3rd of one volume setting increment on my Diablo 300.

The improved focus and clarity really did improve the experience when listening to a lot of material - it was easier to follow what was going on. But bass guitars lost some presence and even some nuance because it was quieter. I was thinking I could live with that for the sake of the improvements, but then I tried listening to some leaner recordings, and it sounded better without the devices plugged in.

All of these effects were subtle, but after going back and forth and pinpointing the differences, the changes became readily apparent.

I’m not going to end up using these, but I’d highly recommend them for anyone who might want to tighten up their system’s focus and detail, and doesn’t mind a very slightly leaner sound.

Also, I suspect those with lower end (less resolving) systems may not hear any difference when using these devices.


One of the things that Nordost warned me about when I asked them about conditioners (I have Valhalla 2 speaker cables) is that all filters / conditioners / regenerators have an impact on tonal balance.  They also warned that you cannot predict how a particular conditioner/filter/regenerator will impact a particular system, so you need to test yourself.  I’ve seen this message repeated on YouTube conditioner shootouts too.  Basically saying that their results are for interest only but not to take their results too seriously because the effects will be different in each system.  I suspect my experience with the Venom Defender is an example of this, possibly influenced by my shared 15A line (that is soon to be replaced with two dedicated 20A lines). 

I got a Defender after my above posts. I had it installed in a PS10 power distributor. What was interesting is that I did not hear the improvement in the music i played when the CD player was plugged into the PS10. I’ll go so far as to say I found the PS10 sound a bit "gray-ish", but then I find anything in the Venom line to be slightly gray-ish sounding, so I was not surprised. For that reason, I ended up keeping the Defender, but sold the PS10 (The PS10 has a Venom 12 power cord attached to it).That may account for the grayish sound I heard through the PS10. I  certainly don't hear that grayish sound with my Delta V2 NR, or my Sigma NR V1 power cable. I find the Venom level components to have less of the "color" of real orchestral instruments that I hear at the symphony live. And less of the color that should be on CDs I've had for 40 years. (The Nutcracker on Mercury Living Presence has a rich color palette). Quite beautiful. Plugging the CD player into The PS10 reduced the (almost) Technicolor qualities which are part of the CD to a noticeable reduced color palette. I find classical music is the easiest music to allow one to recognize when the "color" is being bleached out  by a component, because it has minimal processing (well, my recording of Mercury, RCA, Decca, and other classical music labels are from the '50s, when I was young). As such, they do not have much "processing" of the type that pop music suffers from, so the music sounds the way it does in the symphony hall. (There are exceptions on records, of course. But it's a safe bet that a Mercury Living Presence is not going to sound washed out. One can't say the same of Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Drake or Lizzo or most of the pop artists whose music I've heard. That's the disadvantage of compressing music and dynamically limiting it. I think the artists who escape that fate  on their records should count themselves fortunate!)

Back to the Defender. When I plugged the Defender into the wall ac receptacle - a month ago - I heard the improvement immediately. BUT, I had gotten a PS Audio Ultimate Outlet (20 amp version) in the interim after selling the Shunyata PS10. And in THAT setup, first with the Ultimate Outlet alone, I heard more transient information, so that string sections in an orchestra had their "bite" but not "glare" and I could hear the section as individual violins (not all 20, though), whereas with the PS10, I did not.

My next step was to insert the Defender into the wall socket. NOW WE’RE TALKING! It was obvious, it was immediate! And it was not simply different: I’ve had a great deal of experience in the upper stratospheres of audio equipment back in the 80s and 90s. Goldmund amps, VAC amps, Jadis amps, VTL amps. The BIG BOYS, so I trust what I hear. (The rest of the system was equally illustrious: WATT/PUPPIES, Convergent, Audio Research SP-11, Rowland Coherence preamp and much more. Top-of-the-world equipment back then. The point is, from listening to that kind of equipment, I learned more easily how to listen perceptively.

SO. The Defender dropped the noise floor in orchestral music so that the instruments in the back, no matter how softly they played, were audible, distinct and separated from each other. Transient attack was more what I am used to in the symphony hall. So, the noise definitely dropped.

I heard NO "leaning out" of the bass or reticence. I am not disputing what the other poster heard. I am simply stating that it did not happen in my system. The Audio Research Vsi60 already has a leanness in the lower midrange and upper bass, and I would’ve heard a furthur reduction in those frequencies. But, in my system, that was not at all the case.

I just bought a second one tonight. I have one plugged into the outlet for turntables and CD players. The second one is for the amp outlet.

Quite an effective device, no two ways about it. (I liked it better when it was cheaper, though!)


i experienced the same. I’m wondering how long you had the defender plugged in before you started your session and how long it was in total.  it was suggested to me that I let it settle for a few days. And seems t the warrant that I love of my system returned

@andrewkelley , I don’t recall exactly how long I had it plugged in prior to my listening session, but it was definitely a good while. I had it for a few days.

Funny you should revive this thread. I was just now thinking that I have pretty strong bass in my system now with a rich and full bodied sound. And as such it had just occurred to me that a Defender might not be a bad thing in the context of my current system.